BOSTON – Wednesday, September 30 2020 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the expansion of the Reopen Boston Fund to ensure restaurants in Boston are able to purchase necessary equipment for outdoor dining this fall and winter. This opportunity will include costs to cover heaters, storage equipment, and propane.
In May, Mayor Walsh announced the $6 million Reopen Boston Fund, which provides debt-free grants to support the safe and healthy reopening of small businesses in Boston. To date, the City of Boston has issued more than $2.5 million in direct grants to 1,325 qualified small businesses to implement necessary public health measures and to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. The Reopen Boston Fund continues to offer grants to eligible small businesses of up to $2,000 (for non-restaurants) to assist with reopening costs, now with the expanded fall and winter relief category for restaurants up to $3,000 (for restaurants). Applications are now open, and will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis.
"As we head into the cooler months, we want to support the restaurants and businesses that bring so much to our neighborhoods," said Mayor Walsh. "Restaurants have continued to face incredible challenges during this pandemic, and we remain committed to supporting them, whether it’s through expanded outdooring dining, or additional funding."
The new fall and winter relief opportunity is available for restaurants operating in the City of Boston with under 25 employees, and which has been approved by the Licensing Board for the City of Boston to operate outdoor dining through the temporary extension permitting process. Any restaurants that have not yet applied for or received funding from the Reopen Boston Fund can apply for up to $3,000 to cover reopening costs associated with outdoor dining. Restaurants who previously received Reopen Boston funds are eligible for additional funds and may re-submit an updated budget that includes fall and winter relief and does not exceed $3,000 in total. Eligible expenses include outdoor heating equipment, including heaters, storage, and propane; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); and outdoor seating materials like tables, chairs, barriers. Information and applications are available at boston.gov/reopen-fund.
On September 15, the Licensing Board for the City of Boston issued an advisory regarding the extension of the City’s Temporary Outdoor Dining Program and the use of approved heaters. Restaurants utilizing public sidewalks and parking lanes for outdoor dining may continue the approved use of those spaces until December 1, 2020, weather permitting or until further notice or until the Boston Licensing Board issues further guidance. Outdoor dining on private property has been extended for the duration of the COVID-19 related public health emergency. In addition, application fees will be waived for businesses that apply for a permit for outdoor propane heaters from the Boston Fire Department. All restaurants applying for the additional grant must have an approved Extension of Premises License and a permit from the Boston Fire Department for any outdoor heating requirements.
Licensees interested in the Temporary Outdoor Dining Program that have not previously applied may do so via the smallbiz for technical assistance. A list of restaurants with outdoor dining is available on boston.gov.
Today’s fall and winter relief announcement builds on the work the Walsh Administration has undertaken to support small businesses during the City’s COVID-19 response and through the reopening of our economy. In total, the City of Boston has dedicated over $12.6 million in City, federal, and private funding to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Through the Small Business Relief Fund, Mayor Walsh has announced that nearly $6.5 million in debt-free grants have been distributed to over 1,800 small businesses in every neighborhood across the City of Boston. The City of Boston has also created a number of useful guides and resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Open Businesses in Boston and Support Boston Restaurants platforms have helped businesses to publicly share that they are open and direct residents to supporting local establishments. The above resources and more industry-specific guidance are accessible on boston.gov/covid19-businesses. For all coronavirus updates from the City of Boston, please visit boston.gov/coronavirus.